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Whatcom Watch Online
What is the Whatcom Conservation District/

June 2012


What is the Whatcom Conservation District/

by Barbara Perry

Barbara Perry has lived in the Happy Valley neighborhood since 1973. She graduated from WWU in 1985, and has taught English composition and literature at Northwest Indian College, Whatcom Community College, WWU and University of Washington. She is currently retired.

by Barbara Perry 

The Whatcom Conservation District (WCD) website is well worth checking out: This writer has lived in Washington all her life, yet I had not been aware of this working group of land stewards.  

There are 47 Conservation Districts in Washington, and they each serve their respective communities.  But not all areas of a community are covered by a district. (See

George Boggs, Executive Director, explained why Lake Whatcom was not a part of WCD. The District did not want to duplicate activities of Whatcom County and the city of Bellingham. The District had its hands full with its livestock and riparian restoration programs.  

Even though the board elections for WCD are labeled as non-partisan, it seems that their environmental power must be significant or Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) would not have given such attention to the election. 

Descriptions of all board members are on the WCD website.  Most have farm and/or timber interests. Two board members are chosen by the state and three are elected by the county.1 

What Does the WCD Do?

The WCD website clearly presents their mission, goals, and activities. Mainly their mission is to assist land managers with their conservation choices.  

Of their staff of ten, one has a Ph.D., one is an attorney, eight have at least bachelor degrees and one assistant has a two-year degree. 

The Whatcom Conservation District (WCD) offers civil and environmental engineering services for soil, water and habitat conservation projects in Whatcom County. The engineering services program specializes in designing and permitting wetland and salmon habitat restoration and enhancement projects.

On the website, Programs lists different activities and programs. 

The district holds yearly native plant sales which support education programs. The winter 2012 Native Plant Sale was on March 24. The list of native trees, shrubs, and flowers is impressively long and beautifully photographed. 

The district sponsors education programs (teachers take note). Examples include:

• A Happy Valley Elementary kindergarten class planting native shrubs along Taylor Creek in Bellingham.

• Fisher Elementary second graders planting native vegetation along Fishtrap Creek.

• Blaine High School students participating in riparian restoration planting on a farm in the Drayton Harbor watershed. 

The district provides farmer-related data on soil temperature, moisture and growing degree-days.

“Read the Dirt,” a newsletter of all the Washington Conservation Districts, has articles such as: 

• Planning for A Future: Protecting the Ground

• Recirculating Farms

• Columbia Basin Water Development

• No Fisherman Deserves a Toxic River

• Conserving Working Lands 

• Protecting Dirt, Among Other Things 

For more information about the Whatcom Conservation District, visit: and the Bellingham League of Women Voters


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